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To What Extent Is The UK Democratic?

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To What Extent Is The UK Democratic? A democratic country aims to have an accountable government that serve the best interests of the people it is governing. The UK is a liberal democracy which ensures that citizens should be able to influence governmental decisions made. But how far is the UK democratic? An element of Britain's governmental system is that there is no written constitution. This means that, theoretically, the government are free to pass any legislation as long as they have the majority in parliament which could be easily achieved if the party has a large majority of seats. This means there is no safeguard for laws that can be altered or new ones that could be created. This is very undemocratic as the government therefore have too much power. The government is also in possession of other powers such as the royal prerogative that allows the prime minister to go to war without consent from parliament. An example of where this was used was the Iraq war in 2005 which was heavily resented by a large majority of the public. ...read more.


Also, everyone over the age of 18 is allowed to vote apart from very special circumstances such as being in prison. However, the election system used (fast past the post) is undemocratic. This is due to the problems of over and under representation whereby the proportion of seats a party gains is not equivalent to the proportion of votes. An example of this was in 1983 when the Liberal Democrats gained 3.5% of the seats when they gained 25.4% of the votes. The system is also blamed for the apparent "two party state" which means that smaller parties are simply incapable of coming into power. It could also be argued that it is undemocratic for the government to be allowed to choose when the elections are as opposed to other democratic countries such as the USA where they are held every five years. A final argument is that votes do not have the same "weight" depending on the votes geographical location; in a safe seat area your vote will have little or no effect on the outcome whereas in a marginal area, your vote can be very influential. ...read more.


In the UK the government is fully accountable for its actions. Examples of this are "prime ministers question time" which is traditionally held every Wednesday. MP's are able to query decisions made and ask questions concerning government policies. This is democratic as it means the people have influence over the government if they can question decisions made as it prevents the government having too much power. It also means that the citizens can fully understand why the government has made certain decisions and can ensure that the government is acting in ways that meet the needs of the people. In conclusion, the UK fulfils all of the criteria necessary for a democracy. These criteria include a free and fair election system, freedom of information and rights and liberties for the citizens. However, some of the criteria are not completely fulfilled, such as the fair election system as it can be seen as undemocratic. Therefore the UK is mainly democratic but could be improved on some issues such as the election system and a written constitution to guarantee certain laws fundamentally. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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4 Stars - An effective essay overall. A clear, logical structure was deployed, a range of appropriate examples were used, and there was a clarity of expression evident. The argument was evaluated logically and efficiently using criteria, and was balanced and fair overall. In places the level of explanation and analysis could have been extended to consider a wider range of salient points.

Marked by teacher Dan Carter 10/09/2013

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